The Star Wars Phenomenon & How I’m Tired of Its Place in Pop Culture

The first time I saw Star Wars, it was magical.

This is not something unique to me, and I’m not nearly old enough to have seen it in theaters, so I imagine I didn’t get the full experience. But we had the VHS copies, so they were the original version of the film, and I loved them.

That feeling has long since dissipated.

I’ve watched the amount of Star Wars content speed up to an insane degree. There were 16 years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace in 1999, and I remember (albeit somewhat vaguely) the hype for it. Since then, in just about the same amount of time, we’ve gotten books, video games, comics, three TV shows, and five movies, with the conclusion of this trilogy, a handful of anthology films, and a whole trilogy yet to come, all with that same amount of hype. And that’s just what’s announced.

And that’s just the actual content. At least that’s avoidable if you’re so inclined. But the marketing. Oh, the marketing. It is actually everywhere. You walk into a supermarket and it’s on all the soup cans and paper towels. You walk into a mall and every store is selling SOMETHING with Star Wars on it. You simply walk down the street, and there it is, the poster for the movie event of the year, and you guessed it, it’s a Star Wars movie.

I’m so tired of it.

The hype is unsustainable. People act like we’ve had to wait 16 years between every movie, when in reality it’s a constant presence. A cast member is announced and the internet rushes to be the first to praise the decision. A release date comes out and Fandango crashes because of the amount of people trying to buy tickets. And heaven forbid an actual trailer comes out. It’s the only thing you’ll see. There’s human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria.

And it would be one thing if every thing they put out was good. But here’s the thing; it’s not. The prequels, once widely regarded as trash, have become this badge of honor for “true” Star Wars fans to enjoy. The Force Awakens, while enjoyable enough, is a rehash of a New Hope.

Rogue One is a grim, unnecessary slog filled with unlikeable characters and a plot that we really didn’t need. Who cares how they got the plans!? “Many Bothans died to get us these plans.” That’s enough. I don’t need a whole movie about that one sentence. And why would literally no one mention Jyn Erso in New Hope, Empire, or Return if she was such a pivotal part of the rebellion?

And the future movies don’t look much better. I hope you didn’t like Han Solo being mysterious and badass, because we’re getting a movie about everything he ever mentioned about his past. And get ready for Obi-Wan, and Yoda, and Boba Fett, and I’m sure down the road we’ll get a movie for Watto, and one for Aunt Beru, and one for the Jawa that tried to give Luke a busted droid.

I’m all for letting people like what they like. And if you’re still into Star Wars, great. I’m glad. Enjoy it. But it has become so all-consuming, so ubiquitous with pop culture, that it’s driving away people who once loved it. People like me.

-George Heftler

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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